I feel like if a player wanted to avoid whiney, emo and non-sensical they'd best dodge the latter half of all the Final Fantasy games altogether. That is one poor horse that can't stand to take another beating if you ask me.
I found the characters and plot of the XIII franchise far less accessible than other legs of the Final Fantasy universe, but by no means bad. It just took a little more work and focus to care... Well except in Hope and Fang's cases.... I hated those 2 for some reason..... Ok I guess I hated Snow a wee bit more then most as well. BUT that is not my point.
For me, speaking on XIII, the deal-breaker comes down to setting, environments and the moods they convey to me as a gamer. My big problem is I simply don't detect any "fantasy flavor" in XIII. I do however detect a great Sci-Fi CGI, movie-like, gaming experience with some RPG elements thrown in the mix.
Last thing I would like to say....
As for what you guys said regarding the other games, you're most likely right but I feel the medium of text makes it far easier to swallow characters i'm less keen on than since when voice acting has been introduced.
I completely agree with that 100%. Voice acting in and of itself diminishes my ability to get involved with characters and "connect" the way I did with older titles. Pinning a more concise personality to a character is not always a good thing in RPG's if you ask me.